Vital Records After A Loved One Passes

Everyone knows that you are issued a birth certificate when you are born. The birth certificate is commonly used when applying for employment, passports, and more. A birth certificate includes the child’s name, date, and gender. It also contains the names of the parents, date of registration, and place of birth. A birth certificate’s elements are different from that of a death certificate. Different states have different birth certificates. Although they are similarly structured, they look different based on the state. 

States use the Standard U.S. Standard Death Certificate issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). The CDC publishes a handbook to help physicians uniformly fill out the forms. The death certificate is necessary because one may need it for legal purposes. The reasons may include accessing pension benefits, claiming life insurance, settling estates, or arranging a funeral. 

Section One 

A death certificate begins with the name, sex, social security number, age, and date of birth. This is important for identifying and establishing the “who” in death. The next portion includes birthplace, last residential address, and parental details. Next is all of the information about the funeral. This includes details such as facility name, location, and deposition method. All information stated here is completed and verified by the funeral director.

In the first section, the medical certifier will fill out a list of causes contributing to death. This list would begin with the immediate cause (the disease or condition resulting in death), followed by other possible conditions or causes resulting in death. 

The next section must be filled out by the person who pronounces or certifies death. Information in this section includes the date of death, time of death, license number, and signature by the individual who pronounced the person dead.  

Section Two

This section is divided into two parts. Part one is the cause of death. Part two is comprised of significant conditions contributing to death and questions about an autopsy.  

The first part of this section is filled out by a medical certifier and includes information such as whether or not tobacco played a role in the person’s death, as well as if the deceased was pregnant within a year of death, and the manner of death.

All information about the injury immediately follows this information. Some information here will include the date, time, and place of injury. This section is concluded by verifying if the injury was a transportation injury and description of the damage. The medical certifier then signs the certificate and verifies their title and license number.  

The final portion of the death certificate is about the deceased education level, race, as well as their usual occupation and industry. This portion is to be filled out by the funeral director. 

A death certificate is to be applied for by a deceased family member. The cost is $20 in PA and for more information on Pennsylvania death certificates, contact the Division of Vital Records using one of the following methods: Online contact form – Allow two to three business days for a response. 

Call 724-656-3100 or toll-free at 844-228-3516, Mondays through Fridays, 7:15 am to 10:00 pm.